Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS7649700 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 11/674,906
Publication dateJan 19, 2010
Filing dateFeb 14, 2007
Priority dateFeb 14, 2006
Fee statusPaid
Publication number11674906, 674906, US 7649700 B1, US 7649700B1, US-B1-7649700, US7649700 B1, US7649700B1
InventorsJoel A. Diemer
Original AssigneeArrowhead Center, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Peripheral vision helmet
US 7649700 B1
Abstract
An apparatus for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet in accordance with the present invention includes at least one lens member adapted to be received at a predetermined location in the helmet. The lens member is operable to direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent the eyes of a wearer of the helmet.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(22)
1. An apparatus for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet, said apparatus comprising:
at least one lens member adapted to be received at a predetermined location in the helmet, said lens member operable to direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent an eye of a wearer of the helmet.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is a wedge prism lens member.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is a Fresnel-type lens member.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is a magnifying lens member.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member refracts light from the side portion of the helmet along a predetermined refracting angle to the location adjacent the eyes of the wearer of the helmet.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is shaded.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member includes a polarizing medium disposed thereon.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is a pair of lens members disposed on opposing sides of said helmet.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member includes a central portion curved outwardly with respect to outer portions of said at least one lens member.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is formed from an optics-grade material.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is formed from a polycarbonate material.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said at least one lens member is a pair of lens members joined together.
13. A helmet assembly for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet, comprising:
a helmet member having a helmet portion and an open face portion, said helmet member defining at least one receiving portion at a predetermined location therein;
at least one lens member adapted to be received in said receiving portion of said helmet member, said lens member operable to refract or direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent an eye level of a wearer of the helmet.
14. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member includes a central portion curved outwardly with respect to outer portions of said at least one lens member.
15. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member is a wedge prism lens member.
16. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member is a Fresnel-type lens member.
17. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member is a magnifying lens member.
18. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member refracts light from the side portion of the helmet along a predetermined refracting angle to the eye level of the wearer of the helmet.
19. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member is formed from a polycarbonate material.
20. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said at least one lens member is a pair of lens members joined together.
21. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said predetermined location is adjacent said open face portion and an eye level of a wearer of the helmet.
22. A helmet assembly for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet, comprising:
a helmet member having a helmet portion and an open face portion, said helmet member defining a pair of receiving slots formed on opposing sides of said helmet portion adjacent said open face portion adjacent an eye level of a wearer of the helmet;
a pair of lens members received in said receiving slots, said lens members operable to refract or direct light from side portions of the helmet to locations adjacent the eye level of the wearer of the helmet along a predetermined refracting angle.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and the benefit of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/773,474, entitled “A Helmet Technology To Provide/Restore Full Peripheral Vision to Users”, filed on Feb. 14, 2006, and the specification thereof is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates in general to helmets and helmet devices.

One of the casualties of on-going efforts to improve the safety of football helmets in particular and safety helmets in general is the obstruction or total loss of peripheral vision. The football helmet has evolved from a form fitting, leather, aviator-style cap to today's high-impact plastic, shock absorbing crash helmet. This high-tech box is further augmented for player safety with padded chin strap, and face cage. For linemen, a wrap-around plexiglass shield for eye protection may also be added. While all these features add to player safety, the effect is to limit the field of the player's vision. The vision restrictive nature of the helmet is sometimes compounded with padding and structural features on shoulder pads which nominally protect against rotational and snap back injuries to the neck, which limits the view of the player to that similar to a tunnel.

That the players' peripheral vision is compromised is on display wherever football is being played. Virtually all players to greater or lesser extent display the same exaggerated “turn to Look” behavior when on the field of play. While on the surface this may not be much of a problem, lack of peripheral vision undoubtedly results in injury when contact from the side or back is unexpected, not to mention the innumerable dropped passes, missed tackles and blocks, and quarterback sacks.

It is desirable, therefore, to provide a helmet apparatus that provides peripheral vision to the wearer of a helmet.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An apparatus for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet in accordance with the present invention includes at least one lens member adapted to be received at a predetermined location in the helmet. The lens member is operable to direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent the eyes of a wearer of the helmet.

In one embodiment, the lens member is a wedge prism lens member. Alternatively, the lens member is a Fresnel-type lens member. Alternatively, the lens member is a magnifying lens member. Alternatively, the lens member refracts light from the side portion of the helmet along a predetermined refracting angle to the location adjacent the eyes of the wearer of the helmet. Alternatively, the lens member is shaded. Alternatively, the lens member includes a polarizing medium disposed thereon.

Alternatively, the lens member is a pair of lens members disposed on opposing sides of said helmet. Alternatively, the lens member includes a central portion curved outwardly with respect to outer portions of the lens member. Alternatively, the lens member is formed from an optics-grade material. Alternatively, the lens member is formed from a polycarbonate material. Alternatively, the lens member is a pair of lens members joined together.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a helmet assembly for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet that includes a helmet member having a helmet portion and an open face portion. The helmet member defines at least one receiving portion at a predetermined location therein. The assembly includes at least one lens member adapted to be received in the receiving portion of the helmet member and is operable to refract or direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent an eye level of a wearer of the helmet.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a helmet assembly for providing enhanced peripheral vision to a wearer of a helmet that includes a helmet member having a helmet portion and an open face portion. The helmet member defines a pair of receiving slots formed on opposing sides of the helmet portion adjacent the open face portion adjacent an eye level of a wearer of the helmet. The assembly also includes a pair of lens members received in the receiving slots that are operable to refract or direct light from a side portion of the helmet to a location adjacent the eye level of the wearer of the helmet along a predetermined refracting angle.

The present invention advantageously provides a modification to a helmet in the form of a customizable, optical-grade lens member that employs the concept of light refraction through a prism or the like. The present invention advantageously retains an original field of vision area of the helmet but enhances peripheral vision to the user of the helmet. The helmet may be any type of helmet including, but not limited to, a helmet for football, skiing, hockey, car racing, cycling, motorcycling, bicycling, and any other activity where a helmet is worn and where it is desirable to enhance the peripheral vision of the wearer of the helmet.

Objects, advantages and novel features, and further scope of applicability of the present invention will be set forth in part in the detailed description to follow, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating one or more preferred embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of a helmet apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional schematic view of a lens member in accordance with the present invention and

FIG. 4 is a sectional schematic view of an alternative lens member alternative in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, an apparatus in accordance with the present invention is indicated generally at 10. Apparatus 10 includes helmet member 12 adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer (not shown). Helmet 12 includes helmet portion 14 and open face portion 16, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art. Helmet portion 14 of helmet 12 defines receiving recess or slot 18 formed at a predetermined location adjacent open face portion 16. The predetermined location of receiving slot 18 is preferably determined by the location and level of the eyes of the wearer of helmet 14, discussed in more detail below. Preferably, helmet portion 14 defines at least two receiving slots 18 on opposing sides of helmet portion 14 and preferably adjacent an eye level of the wearer of helmet 12, discussed in more detail below, of helmet portion 14 adjacent open face portion 16. The location of receiving slot or slots 18 is selected to not interfere with properties of helmet 12 such as, but not limited to, impact resistance, impact strength, ability to attach masks 15 or other suitable enclosures for open face portion 16 and the like.

Lens member 20 is received in receiving slot 18. Lens member 20 is preferably formed from an optical grade polycarbonate material or any other suitable optical grade material, discussed in more detail below. Helmet 12 also includes padding 13 on an interior surface thereof, best seen in FIG. 2.

Light enters face portion 16 of helmet 12 from many forward-facing directions, indicated by arrows 22. Lens member 20 directs light, such as by refraction or the like, from the side or the rear directions of helmet portion 14, indicated by arrows 24, towards eye location of the wearer, indicated generally at 26 in FIG. 2. Light 24 is directed by lens member 20 by refracting light 24 along refractive angle 25, which is the angle of light 24 with respect to the axis of the light directed towards eye location 26. Preferably, light 24 is directed by lens member 20 to the eye level of the wearer of helmet 12. By directing light 24 from side or rear of helmet portion 12, helmet 12 enhances peripheral vision of the wearer of helmet 12 and thereby increases safety, as the wearer does not have to turn his or her head in order to view objects, etc. along the side of helmet 12. Refractive angle 25 of lens member 20 may be any angle, as long as lens member 20 is designed to be able to refract or direct light 24 to eye location 26.

As shown in FIG. 3, lens member 20 preferably includes a central portion 20 a of lens member 20 that is curved outwardly with respect to outer portions 20 b of lens member 20 and light source 24 to direct light source 24 to eye location 26, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art. Alternatively, lens member 20 may be a Fresnel-type lens, a wedge prism, or includes other optical modifications capable of directing light and images from the side or back of helmet portion 14, as dictated by the preferred use of helmet 12, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art. Alternatively, lens member 20 is a magnifying lens or a shaded lens. Preferably, lens member 20 is fused to interior surface (not shown) of helmet portion 14 defined by receiving slot 18 to become an integral part of helmet portion 14. When attached, lens member 20 and helmet 12 form a helmet assembly, indicated generally at 28.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an alternative embodiment of lens member is indicated generally at 30. Lens member 30 includes first lens member 32 and second lens member 34 joined together, each of which is similar to lens member 20 shown in FIG. 3. Disposed between first lens member 32 and second lens member 34 is polarizing medium 36. Polarizing medium 36 may also be disposed on a surface of lens member 20. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that more than two lens members, such as the first lens member 32 and the second lens member 34 may be utilized to form a lens member, such as the lens member 30.

Apparatus 10 and assembly 28 in accordance with the present invention advantageous provide the wearer of helmet 12 with enhanced peripheral vision without compromising safety, as helmet 12 retains all of its safety features in helmet portion 14.

Preferably, lens members 20, 30, 32, and 34 are manufactured to various standard specifications including, but not limited to, magnification, refractive angle 25, shading, polarization, and the like. Lens members 20, 30, 32, and 34 are preferably customized as necessary. Fitting of helmet 12 preferably includes selection of lens member 20, 30, 32, or 34 by trial and error, with the assistance of manufacturer trained technicians, or by medical personnel, as appropriate. Once selected, the lens member 20, 30, 32, or 34 is preferably fused in place in slot 18 to become an integral part of helmet 12.

Apparatus 10 and assembly 28 advantageously provide a modification to a helmet, such as helmet 12 in the form of a customizable, optical-grade lens member 20, 30, 32, or 34 that employs the concept of light refraction through a prism or the like. Apparatus 10 and assembly 28 advantageously retains an original field of vision area of helmet 12 but enhances peripheral vision to the wearer of helmet 12. Helmet 12 may be any type of helmet including, but not limited to, a helmet for football, skiing, hockey, car racing, cycling, motorcycling, bicycling, and any other activity where a helmet is worn and where it is desirable to enhance the peripheral vision of the wearer of the helmet.

Although the invention has been described in detail with particular reference to these preferred embodiments, other embodiments can achieve the same results. Variations and modifications of the present invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications and equivalents. The entire disclosures of all references, applications, patents, and publications cited above and/or in the attachments, and of the corresponding application(s), are hereby incorporated by reference.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3691565 *Nov 25, 1970Sep 19, 1972Omnitech IncFlight deck goggle
US3751728Feb 7, 1972Aug 14, 1973Raymond Lee Organization IncFootball helmet
US3787109Jun 28, 1972Jan 22, 1974Honeywell IncInside helmet sight apparatus
US4651357May 24, 1985Mar 24, 1987Yoram GershoniHelmet mirror
US4722101Aug 20, 1986Feb 2, 1988Blower David HOptical system for protective headgear
US5101517Jul 6, 1990Apr 7, 1992Willie DouglasSports helmet with transparent windows in the side walls
US5134521May 31, 1991Jul 28, 1992Thomson-CsfWide-angle display device for compact simulator
US5416536Aug 28, 1992May 16, 1995Waht If Solutions, Inc.Eyeglass lens piece with rear view reflective surfaces
US5585813 *Sep 18, 1995Dec 17, 1996Rockwell International CorporationAll aspect head aiming display
US6295653Apr 30, 1998Oct 2, 2001Michael PuleoHelmet providing improved frontal and peripheral view
US20020174480May 21, 2002Nov 28, 2002Lombard Shoghi A.Sports helmet and face guard
US20030115661Dec 21, 2001Jun 26, 2003Dobbie Blair R.Headmount apparatus for attaching and supporting devices
US20030188375Apr 8, 2002Oct 9, 2003Reginald WilsonHelmet device with side configured peripheral viewing portions
US20050206841Mar 22, 2005Sep 22, 2005Davin SaderholmGoggle lens
Classifications
U.S. Classification359/811, 345/8, 2/424, 2/425, 2/10
International ClassificationA63B71/10, G02B7/02
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/042, G02B3/02, A42B3/0406, A63B71/10
European ClassificationA42B3/04B4, A42B3/04B, G02B3/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 20, 2013FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Apr 27, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ARROWHEAD CENTER, INC., NEW MEXICO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DIEMER, JOEL A.;REEL/FRAME:019221/0665
Effective date: 20070222